Friday, December 30, 2011

Celebrating Nonsense

On the day of the Holy Innocents Els Enfarinats (men with flour-caked faces) go through the streets of Ibi (Alicante), with their duly chosen mayor, who assumes municipal power for the day. These flour-caked figures dress in a slovenly manner and go around the banks and shops imposing fines. In the evening Els Tapats -unrecognizable masked figures- make an appearance. Later the frank and biting bands of els enfarinats, criticising local people and institutions, are read out. Similarly, in Campo de Mirra (Alicante), there are sometimes "Fools" Festivals at Christmas time, where people disguise themselves and go through the streets satirizing life in their town. Julio Caro Baroja, in his novel El Carnaval (Carnival), compares this type of festivity with the Roman Saturnalia, which used to be held around this date, saying: but the traditional day for electing Kings, Mayors, etc., is the day of the Holy Innocents. The traditional jokes played on such a day also took place in Rome during the Saturnalia.

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